GDR 1949-1969
Foreign Policy
Unification 1989/90






GDR 1969-1989



In 1969, the CDU under incumbent chancellor KURT GEORG KIESINGER regarded itself winner of the elections in the FRG and expected to form the new government with junior partner FDP. This small liberal party, however, chose the other option and joined the SOCIAL LIBERAL COALITION under chancellor WILLY BRANDT (SPD).
The GDR strongman, Communist Party chief WALTER ULBRICHT wanted to continue a course of confrontation with the FRG; Moscow saw things differently and Ulbricht was sacked, replaced by ERICH HONECKER, the man who had been in charge of the construction of the Berlin Wall. There were a number of visits by Willy Brandt to East Germany, by Willi Stoph (GDR) to the FRG. The GRUNDLAGENVERTRAG (Basic Treaty) was signed, regulating a number of issues, among them family reunions and westerners visiting their relatives in the east. Major FRG successes were of humanitarian nature, concessions to the GDR were mainly of financial nature. The fact that the FRG signed a treaty with the GDR could be seen as a partial recognition, although the FRG avoided that expression.
East Germany altered its Germany policy, gave up the claim to be the sole legitimate successor state of the German Reich and adopted the formula of the PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE OF TWO GERMAN STATES instead. Both German states joined the UN in 1975.

When the elected socialist government in Chile was toppled by a bloody army coup, many Chileans found political asylum in the GDR, one of them becoming Erich Honecker's son-in-law.

During the Brezhnev years, the GDR was a loyal follower of Soviet foreign policy. The party leadership aged, failed to rejuvenate. When Michail Gorbachev rose to power, introducing a policy of GLASNOST and PERESTROIKA the East German leadership, foremost Erich Honecker and Erich Mielke, were critical of it and stuck to the old line.
In the second half of the 1980es, the numbers of East Germans which were ganted permission to emigrate to the west had reached significant numbers. Signs of dissatisfaction were widespread. When the GDR celebrated its 40th anniversary, visitor Gorbachev commented "Those who do not change with the times, will be punished by life". Shortly afterward, the Berlin Wall fell.





EXTERNAL
FILES
DOCUMENTS Letter from the Bulgarian Minister of the Interior (Stoyanov) to the Head of the STASI (Mielke) , 29.4.1987, from PHP (English summary)
Information from the Bulgarian Prime Minister (Atanasov) regarding the Visit of the GDR Prime Minister (Stoph), 18.7.1989, from PHP (English summary)
Castro's 1977 southern Africa tour: A report to Honecker, excerpt from Castro-Honecker meeting, from CNN : Cold War
Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, June 12, 1987, from Ronald Reagan Website
Protocol between India and the GDR on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, Feb. 2 1971, from India Bilateral Treaties
Protocol between India and the GDR on Trade and Payment, Nov. 11 1971, from India Bilateral Treaties
Protocol between India and the GDR on Cooperation in the Field of Veterinary Science, May 7 1974, from India Bilateral Treaties
Agreement between India and the GDR on Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy, May 14 1974, from India Bilateral Treaties
Consular Convention between India and the GDR, Dec 12 1975, from India Bilateral Treaties
Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Meeting With Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere of the German Democratic Republic June 11, 1990, posted by Bush Library, TAMU
Presidential Determination No. 90 - 30 -- Memorandum on Trade With the German Democratic Republic, August 15, 1990, posted by Bush Library, TAMU
Letter to Congressional Leaders on Trade With the German Democratic Republic, August 15, 1990, posted by Bush Library, TAMU
Presidential Determination No. 90 - 31 -- Memorandum on Export-Import Bank Services for the German Democratic Republic August 17, 1990, posted by Bush Library, TAMU


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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